The Music Blog: Warning Douchebag Alert

This is a disclaimer, and you better read it carefully. This blog is about Eric Clapton who I believe is the most reprehensible person on the planet or certainly one of them. If you love Eric Clapton you should exit this post and not read further. If you think he is the greatest guitarist or the greatest bluesman to ever walk the planet then you need to stop and read no further. I do not like Mr. Clapton, I do not like him Sam I am and I do not like green eggs and ham.

You have been warned so any snide argumentative comments defending him will be treated accordingly.

So look, let’s be honest here. Clapton can play. Is he the greatest guitarist ever? It’s a matter of opinion but I don’t think so. I think he is overrated. Disliking Clapton has little to do with his music. In fact there are many songs I really like especially the music made with Cream. I also enjoy listening to From the Cradle but it’s not the blues, it’s a bastardized version of the blues. That’s where it really begins with me. If you read my blog then you know how I feel about the blues and the people who are called bluesmen. So I don’t need to go there again. Clapton gets called a sort of savior for the blues by making it popular, well making it popular with white people. A lot more musicians than Clapton though loved and listened to the blues and their treatment of the old blues men who created that music was so much more sincere. Ever see Keith Richards play with one of the great bluesmen, how reverential it is. It’ not about him, it’s about them. The first thing you have to understand about Clapton is that it’s always about him. He is always center stage, always the big attraction. There are all sorts of videos out there of Clapton playing with Buddy Guy or playing with Muddy. It’s always the black guy introducing Clapton. It’s never the other way around and sometimes you can see it in Muddy’s eyes that he realizes that the blues sold its soul to the white devil to make money to be big to have a white audience.

Clapton didn’t invent the term Clapton is God at least we don’t think so, but he also never did anything to dispel that attitude. Even today people still say Clapton is God just like it was spray painted on a wall in London. He believes he is, acts like he is and by gosh everyone else should too. Clapton is always introduced by other stars when he plays he never does the introducing. Somewhere around 1966 a young American guitarist came to London. He had no band no real resume outside of playing with the Isley brothers. By all appearances he seemed little more than a side man, this unassuming black man without a band. He made the rounds and then asked very politely if he could come on stage and play with Clapton and Cream. Clapton said sure. Jimi Hendrix played Killing Floor a Howlin’ Wolf song that Clapton didn’t believe could be played Live. Hendrix shattered his world. Clapton said that he saw Hendrix play and the world changed. The experience changed Clapton.

Years later many of the English rock stars who had learned to play by listening to American blues approached Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters to bring them to England and record with them before these aging giants of music were gone forever. Both happily agreed. There was a condition. They could not bring their bands. They were told that it was because they could not afford to bring everyone, these rich English stars. The real reason? Howlin’ Wolf was blessed to have in my opinion the greatest blues guitarist of all time in his band, the man who invented the licks for Killing Floor and all the other great Wolf songs. Eric Clapton wanted no part of Hubert Sumlin being there and so he said no. Now Sumlin was a warm hearted wonderful humble man and you might not have heard about him because he wasn’t out there calling himself great. He just wanted to play. It was a great disappointment to both Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters that their bands had to be left behind.

Most people are blessed to have a lot of friends in their life. I am not one of them. I have few friends and I cherish the daylights out of them. They do a lot for me because I need a lot done for me. It’s not easy being vision impaired. It’s hard to measure the friendships that rock stars develop because so little of their private lives unless its romantic is covered. Clapton is not known for having a lot of friendships. Maybe he does maybe he doesn’t. It says little about him either way. Back in the late 60’s Clapton developed one of the great friendships in rock and roll history with George Harrison. In fact, his relationship with Harrison was much better than any of the wives or women that he had relationships with. Would you like to know how Clapton felt about that friendship? Well he felt it was so great that he developed a relationship with George Harrison’s wife in the early 70’s. So they pal’ed around and meanwhile he’s carrying on with the famous Patti Boyd, George’s wife. Classy right? Now if you are going to be a douchebag and screw your best friend’s wife at least have the courage to go to your best mate and say before it ever starts that you got a thing for his wife. The right thing to do is talk about it, talk it through before you actually go out and screw her, before you fall in love with her. Not Clapton. Clapton is God. Those kinds of stand up things are beneath him. It is sort of interesting to see Clapton interviewed years later how he minimizes blame almost makes it into no big deal. I can assure you it was a big deal, it was hurtful and the fact that George remained friends with Clapton says more about George than it does about Clapton.

Clapton has had many failed relationships. It’s not hard to figure out why, it’s all about him all the time. Sheryl Crow knows. She wrote a half dozen songs about what a douchebag Clapton was. Half of the album The Globe Sessions is about him in fact. Maybe she is not a whole lot better, but it would be a hard to be any worse.

So my final douchebag moment will likely make you squirm a bit. This is purely my opinion. I am a dad, a father of a pretty great kid who has been a challenge for most of his life. I know what it’s like to have a toddler running around. I used to do this thing where if I came across any tongs in the kitchen I would pick them up and dramatically start humming the theme song to jaws. Duh-du, duh-du. You know. As soon as he heard it my kiddo would take off running, laughing and giggling, just one of those little games we had. One night he slipped on the floor and knocked himself senseless. It scared the hell out of us. Life with a 2 year old or a 3 year old or even a 4 year is damn scary. You can have eyes on, glance out of a window for 5 seconds at a squirrel and turn around and somehow the little tyke has dragged the water hose inside and is spraying the electric sockets while playing with a switchblade. So as parents you learn. You walk through your house and you childproof as much as you can. So tell me if you live in New York City, rich enough that you live in a high rise luxury apartment and visit other friends who own luxury high rise apartments why you would have a window open. Think about it and please show your work, but I ask the question again why would you have a window open. Yes I know, the accident occurred at a friend of Clapton’s wife The truth is, if you gave a damn at all about your little tyke you wouldn’t. Now I know what you are thnking, was aforementioned Mr. Clapton, ie. God even there. Honestly I can’t remember. In fact I think he was on tour. Even so you are rich enough that you pay someone to watch over the little tyke and in doing so you give instructions, don’t let him near my guitars, please don’t open any windows that he can fall out of, keep him away from knives. Isn’t this just good parenting? Accidents happen and I get this. Sometimes, even when you are diligent bad things just happen without any rhyme or reason. I do not blame Clapton for the death of his son, it’s what came next. Now Clapton is great at making lemonade out of lemons so naturally he wrote a song about his dead son and lo and behold he made lots of money and won lots of grammys and everyone feels sorry for him and gives him a lot of attention. You can cringe now if you want. Profiting off the death of your son is just evil. I just cannot imagine.

Look If you got this far then remember I warned you that I wasn’t going to be nice. I don’t like him, don’t like what he stands for don’t like how he profits from drug addiction, from death and from generally being a crappy human being. As I have said I like some of his music. There are even a few Cream songs that dare I say I actually love. The man himself is reprehensible. I still see him called God on a blues site I am a part of. Occasionally I have someone who asks me oh you love music don’t you love Eric Clapton. I usually respond with a glare, an icy glare. I do not begrudge you for liking him. Mostly this is about answering why I don’t like him which I get asked a lot because so many ask me if I like Clapton because I love the blues and they think he is some sort of blues God. He isn’t.

And don’t worry this blog really isn’t about the things I hate, the artists I can’t stand, just the opposite but my collection brings up a host of thoughts and feelings some of which I am going to express on this blog.

And you were warned.

Mike out

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